Q&A: Getting Rid of Raspberries

Aside from constant vigilance, any thoughts on how to get rid of raspberry without getting rid of everything else too?—Andrew Kling, via Twitter

Answer: Raspberry bushes are very persistent plants. They can be tricky to pull out, in part because of their prickly stems, and even then if you don’t get the whole plant it may sprout up again.

Here’s one way to pull out a raspberry bush that reduces the likelihood of resprouting:

Cut plants down to leave just a stump. Slice into the soil all around stump, carving a circle. Reach down into this circle and cut out the stump. Make sure that you detach the stump from every single little root in the soil. You can leave the roots where they are, burying them back up. Detached from the stump, the roots should rot.

Whenever you’re cutting raspberry branches, seal them in bags and throw away. Do not compost the branches or the stump, and don’t toss them into a brush pile, field, the woods, etc. If you do, they will probably root themselves and start growing.

To keep raspberry bushes in one area of the yard, create an underground barrier around them. Dig a trench and fill it with a heavy-duty plastic barrier, such as for containing bamboo. Raspberries spread by underground runners, so it helps to “wall” them off.

Wherever new plants do pop up, pull them, getting as much of the roots as you can. You might also just mow or cut them down and pile heavy mulch on top. If you keep doing this, eventually the plants and roots will weaken.

How to grow raspberries.

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